NO FEAR IN YOUNG AMIRUL
Amirul Adli is ready to clear his head, set nerves aside and burst out of the Singapore bullpen.
He may have been a little uncertain initially when he came on in the 26th minute in the Republic's 1-0 loss to Tajikistan on Sunday, but collected himself and did enough in the end to earn a starting spot tonight, when Singapore take on Oman in their second Group C encounter.
It is a crucial match for both teams after they lost their opening games and Amirul (above), the youngest player in Aide Iskandar's 20-man squad at 18, just wants to show just what he's got.
"I was a little scared initially against Tajikistan, but there's no more fear now," the defensive midfielder said yesterday.
"I've got the senior players to guide me on the pitch, and I know that this team have the capability not only to compete, but also to actually beat Oman," he declared, insisting this was not just youthful audacity.
"I'm focusing on filling up my tank for the physical part of my game, and (tonight) I will focus on the psychological aspects - and try to replicate what I do in training in the match."
Fast to cover space and strong in the challenge at Singapore's training session yesterday, Adli ventured to the fringes of his job scope, even attempting cross-field passes in an attempt to unlock his teammates playing as the opposing defence.
Having watched the first half of Oman's 2-0 defeat by Palestine, he is acutely aware of the threat they pose.
"Oman are very comfortable with the ball, and I know I have to be very aggressive when I face them. If we can (nullify) their passing game, we will have more of a chance to come away with something," he said.
"I'm not afraid. I know I've got the guidance of the older players in the team and we have been working well together.
"I'm learning from my mistakes and I'm ready for Oman."
- SHAMIR OSMAN